By Stephen Johnson, Rainshadow Ridge, Box 125
Livermore, CO 80536
All rights reserved.

What is dowsing? It is the ancient art of seeking information or unseen objects through the use of non-ordinary perception. In practice it is a process of obtaining yes/no answers (or numerical answers) to properly worded questions with the use of a dowsing instrument and the proper frame of mind. Sometimes called divination, perhaps because the source of the answers seems to be from higher consciousness or universal mind.

Types of dowsing tools: The primary tool is the mind of the dowser. Instruments and tools merely act like the needle on a gauge, showing in a kinesthetic way the answer to the questioner. Common dowsing tools
include the famed forked stick, as well as L-rods, pendulums, bobbers and others. There is no particular power or magic in a tool, but some are more convenient for particular tasks than others. Each dowser will have a favorite, whatever they are most comfortable with.

Mastery through practice can lead to deviceless dowsing.

Who can do it? Anyone who is willing to practice can dowse.

Children seem to be born with a natural ability, and remain particularly sensitive until about age 16 or 17. People of all ages and interests use dowsing on a daily basis. It is a gift of God that all are entitled to


The common notion of dowsing is that of "water-witching"; locating water with a forked stick or rods. Serving others by locating "hard targets" remains the basic skill upon which serious dowsers build their skills. Dowsing can be used for locating minerals, lost objects, missing people, buried treasure, finding depth of water veins and other types of work with physical items. Non-physical dowsing applications seek information only; any line of questioning that can be stated in a logical yes/no format can be approached by a dowser. Many dowsers use the process to test the nutritional value of food, balance chakras, plan gardens, test auras, assist with therapeutic touch, diagnose physical ailments, study past lives, communicate with devas or study ancient sacred sites like Stonehenge. The list is virtually endless.

What makes the rods move OR the pendulum swing? The dowser does. There's no magic in this process. The key to the movement is that the dowser achieve a state of mind in which muscle control is transferred to the subconscious mind rather than the conscious mind. It is most easily achieved when the dowser does not care whether the answer is a yes or a no. This state of mind has been called high indifference or getting out of ego. This is why dowsing is more accurate and reliable when the dowser is serving others rather than dowsing a personal question.


The first three steps are: find a tool, get your mind ready, and assume the ready position. For a tool, most start with a pendulum or L-rods. If nothing else is handy get a fishing pole to use as a "bobber" and hold it by the thin end so the weighty end is out. To prepare your mind, find a quiet place without interruptions or strong influences. Quiet your mind through meditation or your favorite technique. Breathe. Relax. When you are ready, pick up the tool and assume the ready position. For L-rods this position is to hold the rods level and directly in front, much like six-guns. Relax the arms and body until the rods are fairly steady, and your grip is light.

For the pendulum, hold the chain or string with thumb and finger, with the chain three to five inches long. Find a comfortable position, but for starting it may be important not to rest your elbow on a table. Then, start the pendulum swing either back and forth, or in a diagonal motion. For bobbers, the ready position is to hold it out at a 45-degree angle in front and observe the motion until it is relatively constant.

Getting That First Response: Once the ready position has been achieved, the next step is simple. Ask! Ask to be shown what a "yes" response looks like to you. Then ask what a "no" response looks like. Ask and you shall receive, but you may have to practice. If you get responses that are not clear, it's OK to ask practice questions like "Is today Tuesday?"

If you get no response at all, then you can "program" the response as you wish. If the tool is a pendulum, then start it moving in a clockwise rotation and tell yourself "this is what I want a yes response" to look like. Do the same for "no". Then ask practice questions until you get the responses you want. For some people the first response can be as awkward as learning to ride a bicycle. Do not be concerned if this is the case.

Also, do not be concerned if your "yes" looks like somebody else "no". Dowsing responses are highly personal. Practice until you're sure of the basic responses, but do not overdue any session. If it becomes frustrating, then put it down for a while.


A regular dowsing session usually contains these elements:

1. Ask the questions "Can I, May I, Should I?" dowse this particular topic at this time. This has been called the mantra of the American Society of Dowsers (ASD). It is a condensation of three questions. "Can I" means do I have the skills and the preparation, am I capable? "May I" means do I have permission from my higher self and the higher self of all who may be involved? "Should I" means is it in the highest and best interest of myself and others to do this dowsing at this time? The beginner is advised to ask the three questions separately. Experienced dowsers, through programming themselves, often condense it to one question. If you experience a "no" to any one of the three questions, put the tool down and ask again at another time.

2. Frame your question in a logical, clear manner that can be answered "yes" or "no". It is often best to write down all your questions in advance. This helps de-focus the mind from the results of any particular question, and helps break down the overall question into logical pieces. This process alone helps the dowser discover what it is he or she is really asking. Avoid the use of slang. Ask for facts, not opinions. Seek to ask the same question in your mind as you are with your words. Thinking "red" while voicing "blue" doesn't work well. If desired, ask the same question two or three times in different ways. With a "hard target" such as a water vein, come at it from two or three different directions until you're certain about the answer. Accuracy improves with your commitment and practice.

3. Write down the answers next to the questions. This will help you review and understand the message later. Keep in mind that the answers you are given are the literal truth according to the wording of the question.

Try to be time-specific. If you ask "Does my car need gas?' you'll almost certainly get a yes. If you ask "Does my car have enough gasoline in it now to get me to the post office and back?" you have asked a much more specific question. DO NOT ASK questions about the future.

4. Stop when you are tired, or if you find your mind wanting to force a particular answer. You can always come back and dowse some more later.

5. When you're done with a particular session, remember to say "thank you". An attitude of gratitude can do wonders for a dowser and helps us to keep the correct frame of mind to enable us to successfully use dowsing in service to others and the universe.

6. Get with other dowsers, talk with them, dowse with them. Read books and articles by other dowsers. Attend regional meetings of dowsing clubs. Join the American Society of Dowsers.


Dowsing can be refined and made more useful through the use of pendulum charts to get more than yes/no responses. All dowsers who study their responses and/or work at programming their responses can learn to get a "maybe" response. A "maybe" can mean anything from "Not exactly, but I know what you're getting at" to "that depends on something else". All dowsers must learn how to interpret a counting response. This is used when you need to know "how many" --- such as depth to a water vein. When searching for "hard targets" dowsers use remote dowsing. That is, they don't have to be at the site. Many water dowsers will first dowse a map of the site to locate the general area which is then later investigated more closely on the actual ground. The skills of deviceless dowsing can be mastered more readily if one has learned the use of dowsing tools first. Deviceless dowsing includes using the palm of the hand, using two fingers, or the common practice of "muscle testing".


Join the American Society of Dowsers. This is a group of more than 4,000 individuals who practice and teach dowsing on a regular basis. Within this group you can find people who are interested in all the topics you're interested in, and they can help you advance your dowsing skills rapidly. Write for the book and supply catalog, it is full of wonderful things. Find out where the local and regional clubs meet and go to these meetings if you can.

Write to American Society of Dowsers, P.O. Box 4, Danville, Vermont, 05828. Phone 802-684-3417 or 800-711-9530 or fax 802-684-2565. They are also on the World Wide Web at:


Their membership fee is $30 per year, for which you will receive a quarterly digest of interesting articles by dowsers, a quarterly newsletter, and information on regional and national conventions.